It’s 8:00pm. I’ve spent the past three and a half hours with the Man from Marshalls and we’re now perched upon a pair of bar stools at Catahoula’s. Despite the fact that I’m still basking in the glow of our first kiss, I’m failing miserably in my attempts to make intelligent comments about the Phillies game. Nor have I managed to work into conversation the fact that I write a blog, and that this blog happens to be about dating, and I lead a rather, er, active dating life. As I spear another forkful of Caesar salad, I start to wonder, “What am I doing here?”
I’m not a sit-in-a-bar-to-watch-the-game kind of girl. I have been known, on occasion, to “watch” a football game, by which I mean that I position myself within the vicinity of a television and practice my bar tricks (so far I only have one: tying a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue, but I’m hoping to expand my repertoire).
I will only deign to enter a sports bar under extreme duress and by “extreme duress,” I’m referring to those unfortunate periods of my life during which I’ve been dating someone who won’t come to the art museum with me until the game’s over.
Without warning, the crowd bursts into spontaneous applause, the Man from Marshalls included. My keen observation skills tell me that one of the Phillies has hit a homerun, or caught a fly ball (or something along those lines) but I could care less. Before I can stop myself, I find myself thinking about my other dates and I wonder what they’re doing right now. Date #4, I decide, would have never subjected me to a Phillies game. Date #4 would have taken me someplace fancy off Rittenhouse, and he would worn his dress shirt with cufflinks instead of with the baseball cap that I am beginning to suspect is more or less a permanent feature for Date #16.
But then I follow this thread to its logical conclusion. Date #4 would have never taken me to a bar to watch the Phillies in the first place because Date #4 would have never been spontaneous enough to engage in a marathon tripartite date with yours truly.
And seeing as this marathon tripartite date included a fair amount of indecent behavior on the street corner in Northern Liberties, I can’t help but smile again; Date #4 would have never accompanied me to Northern Liberties, especially not to go bowling. (The very thought of him trading his shiny leather loafers for Velcro bowling shoes is enough to make me keel over with mirth, but I’m going to have to restrain myself because I’m writing this on the bus and I don’t want to send my laptop crashing onto the floor.)
So, back to the Man from Marshalls and the Phillies game. I resolve to make more of an effort and I start to say things like, “The other team’s pitcher looks like a girl.”
To which Date #16 replies, “You’re watching the wrong game, Kat.”
Oh. Well, it’s not my fault that the bar is broadcasting several games simultaneously. They really shouldn’t confuse the clientele like that.
“Don’t you think he’d want to tie his hair back?” I ask. I’m rather fascinated by the fact that the pitcher has shoulder length hair just spewing from his baseball cap.
The man from Marshalls just shrugs, his eyes glued to the television—the correct television.
“Think about it,” I urge. “How can he play baseball with his hair just flopping around? I mean, you wouldn’t see a football player or a basketball player running around with his hair like that.”
He shrugs again.
“Of course,” I continue, “I guess you don’t really run around a lot in baseball. Not as much as you do in football or basketball. Or soccer. They run a lot in soccer. But in baseball you only have to run if you make a base hit. Of if you’re trying to catch a fly ball.” (I’m majorly impressed with myself for recalling the terms “fly ball” and “base hit.” So impressed, in fact, that I think I could have been a sports broadcaster if I wasn’t so utterly bored by the World Series, let alone the Superbowl.)
Given my obvious affinity for athletic commentary, I decide to share a few more of my observations. “Since he’s the pitcher, he doesn’t have to catch too many fly balls. His hair probably isn’t too much of a problem.”
“Um hmm” the Man from Marshalls replies.
Oh God. He’s not listening. It’s only our second date and he’s already tuning me out.
I resolve to try harder. I’m going to stop watching the Braves and whatever team the pitcher-who-looks-like-a-girl is from (actually, maybe he is a Brave?) and focus all of my energies on making intelligent comments on the Phillies game.
But this is harder than I you’d think. The first thought that comes to mind is, “Chase Utley is pretty hot,” but seeing as I’m on a date, I can’t really say that. I fish for alternative material but I don’t know any of the players’ names aside from Chase, and I don’t even know what position he plays so I decide to ask a question (because guys like it when you ask questions about their hobbies).
“So, Chase Utley, he’s really famous,” I begin. (I figure “famous” is less intimidating than “hot.”) The Man from Marshalls nods so I take this as my cue to continue. “He must be what—the pitcher? The catcher?”
The Man from Marshalls shakes his head.
I’m out of ideas. Of course I know the other positions (center field, shortstop, etc.) but I can’t imagine how you get to be the face of Tastycakes if you’re not a pitcher or a first basemen.
With a rather endearing look that somehow manages to combine both amusement and pity, Man from Marshalls informs me that Chase Utley is the second baseman. With that, I decide to stick to general comments like “nice job,” and “good catch.” These I offer with great enthusiasm until my date says, “You know, Kat, you don’t have to make a comment for every player.” With a glint in his eye, he adds, “In fact, I’m starting to think you’re just being sarcastic.”
Me? Make sarcastic comments during a sports event?
“I would never!” I insist. When Chase Utley gets up to bat, I suddenly remember why the lowly second baseman is in fact the face of Tastycakes. “He’s a good hitter, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” the Man from Marshalls says.
I nod, paying close attention. I’m not really watching (I’m more interested in my date’s French fries at this point) but then I see a numerical pattern I recognize from my own reluctant softball career: full count! Chase has three balls, two strikes. It all hinges on the final pitch.
The pitcher (who does not have long hair) winds up and sends a fastball (or maybe a curveball?) straight over home plate. Anyone can see that it’s way too low. I see it, and Chase Utley obviously sees it, because he doesn’t swing.
“Good eye, Chase!” I exclaim. “Good eye!”
The Man from Marshalls just shakes his head and tries not to laugh.
“What?” I demand. I wasn’t being sarcastic. I even managed to comment on the correct baseball game this time.
“That was strike three,” the Man from Marshalls explains. “He should have swung.”
Oh. Hmm. Evidently I’m going to have to read up on my baseball if I don’t want to strike out with the Man from Marshalls. And considering that I have effectively ruined his baseball watching experience, I decide that it would be best to save the blog talk for another time.